Albert Lortzing (1801–1851) The Poacher or The Voice of Nature
Comic Opera in 3 Acts Text: Albert Lortzing
solos: SSMezATBarBB – choir: SSAATTBB – 2(picc).2.2.2. – 22.214.171.124. – timp.perc – str
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Duration: full evening
Text: Albert Lortzing, from a comedy by A. v. Kotzebue
Place and time: In a village of the count, in the dynastic castle, summer 1803
Characters: COUNT VON EBERBACH (baritone) – THE COUNTESS (alto) – BARON KRONTHAL (tenor) – BARONESS FREIMANN (soprano) – NANETTE, her chambermaid (mezzo-soprano) – BACULUS, schoolmaster (bass) – GRETCHEN, his fiancé (soprano) – PANKRATIUS, steward (bass)
Ballet Rustic contredanses
The schoolmaster Baculus and the young Gretchen are celebrating their engagement. In order to be able to serve up an inexpensive roast at the wedding feast, he poaches on the count’s estates and shoots a roebuck. Baculus is caught, however, and released from office as punishment. Gretchen wants to go to the castle to change the count’s mind, but the jealous schoolmaster does not consent. The widowed Baroness Freimann, the count’s sister, comes to the rescue, disguised as a student wanting to sneak into the castle to view the baron. She offers that they both to go in Gretchen’s clothes to the count to change his mind. Count and baron, in the guise of a steward, approach and are charmed by the fake Gretchen. Without further ado, the count invites everyone to the castle to celebrate his birthday. The rivals vie for the favor of the fake Gretchen, but their advances are unsuccessful, and in the end the countess takes them out of the line of fire. The baron meantime offers Baculus a deal: 5000 thalers to relinquish his fiancé. This large sum makes the enamored, though poor schoolmaster waver in his loyalty.
The next day Baculus brings the baron his fiancé – the real Gretchen. The baron is disappointed when he had expected another lady. Baculus consoles him with the fact this is a disguised student, a man. Only now does the baroness reveal her true identity to all, and the kinship relationships come to light. So the baron still gets his baroness, the count remains with the countess and Baculus remains Gretchen’s bridegroom and schoolmaster: in the dark he has not shot a buck, but his own donkey…